The president of the Grand Pickleball Club, Troy Konz, was asked by his wife, Susan, what he wanted for Christmas.
As he was driving around Surprise he began to notice the number of homeless people in the city. That is when Mr. Konz came up with the idea of the “Grand Pickleball Club Homeless Project.”
Originally, the couple was going to put together small gift bags for the homeless with a few useful items. Then they decided to see if the pickleball club would be interested in contributing, and Mr. Konz’s idea exploded.
Grand Pickleball Club members donated hats, scarves, socks, gift cards, blankets, coats, toiletries, non-perishable food items and cash.
With the money donated, 100 backpacks were purchased so that each homeless person would have a convenient way to carry their items.
Mr. Konz realized he personally could not distribute all of the backpacks, so he asked for assistance from the advocacy group at New Beginning Worship Center, led by Pastor Anthony Lee Johnson.
This advocacy group has areas within the community where the homeless gather for hot meals and where this year the homeless would receive a backpack along with a hot meal.
Some of the backpacks were also donated to the Surprise homeless shelter and some to the Surprise Police Department, which will distribute them from their cruisers.
In addition, members of the Grand Pickleball Club personally handed out backpacks.
Below is an excerpt from a letter Troy and Susan received from the Pastor Johnson:
“At the homeless meeting the backpacks the pickleball club provided were the of hit the evening. We dropped off 10 backpacks to the city of Surprise Resource Center this morning. This office handles the city programs that assist the community homeless who are homeless due to normal circumstances such as job loss via downsizing, medical issues or injury. These are the homeless that are employable to many businesses. The backpacks are intended for them and serve to soften that rejection. You do not know how special this donation drive has been, and the effect it has had on so many people you will probably never meet.”
After filling the pickup trucks with the items donated, the club had money left over to buy some much needed items for the homeless advocates pop up soup kitchen.
The extra money bought a pop-up gazebo, flooring, cooking burner units, tabletop heaters and soup pots.
The final $150 left over will be spent on bulk meats to make two different meals to be fed to the homeless over the next month.
Following the donation, Grand Pickleball still had 17 filled backpacks that available for club members to pass out if they desire. ]Three have already been taken.